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Religious Crisis Hits National Conference …‘Confab Stage- Managed To Promote Islamic Agenda’

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A religious crisis appears to have hit the on-going National Conference in Abuja as the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has accused the Chairman of the National Conference, Idris Kutigi, of religious bias against Christians in the appointment of chairmen of committees.
CAN’s protest was made known yesterday in a press statement by its Director on National Affairs, Sunny Oibe.
CAN specifically complained about the composition of the committee of religion saying Mr. Kutigi ensured that the leadership of the committees “favours Muslims in Nigeria”.
“He is from Niger State and the Committee on Religion should be a sensitive committee,” CAN said in the statement.
It also said the chairman “has decided to scatter the Christians in the confab and now brought Nurudeen Lemu, the son of Sheikh Lemu, who is also from Niger State to chair the committee and did not pick any delegate representing the Christian Association of Nigeria”.
The CAN added that a supposed Christian in the committee, Jonathan Obaje, representing the Diaspora in the confab has been given express permission by Mr. Kutigi to travel overseas for holiday.
“He is not even in Nigeria at present and does not represent CAN; the delegate is not around and Christians will be affected during voting,” they said.
They said Bishop Felix Ajakaiye who was named co-Chairman in the committee is representing Ekiti State and not CAN.
“In that case, we have already lost and the ratio will now be 12
members for Muslims and 6 for Christians
“To us in CAN, Justice Kutigi is working out a script to undermine the interest of the Christians in the confab. Ordinarily, the Christians who have been on the receiving end from the members of the
Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North should be a co-chairman in the Committee on Religion
“But what Kutigi did was to pick a Muslim from the North as chairman and a Christian from the South West (Ajakaiye) who has little or no knowledge of what is happening in the North as co-chairman,” CAN said.
It said the interest of Christians in this case, will not be adequately protected.
It said already, the confab is a stage-managed conference, because even though President Goodluck Jonathan has a good intention, “there is a problem in allowing Kutigi to be chairman”.
“So Christians in Nigeria are not happy and we don’t expect that a man who is highly placed like Justice Kutigi would allow his religion to override national interest,” the statement said.
Speaking further, CAN said “So we are asking the Vice Chairman of that Conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi what he is doing there? It may also interest Nigerians to note that none of the delegates sent by CAN were allowed to head any committee in the confab; this is unfortunate.
Where is the transparency? Where is the equity and fairness? “
CAN said although it has no problem with the nomination of Mr. Ajakaiye, it sees his choice as a mischief by Mr. Kutigi.
“Ajakaiye is a Christian from the South West but to us, a Christian from the North and CAN delegate who knows how Christians are being slaughtered on daily basis by Boko Haram should be the co-chairman of
the committee.
“But Kutigi refused because he is carrying out an Islamic agenda. These are the same people who claimed that Jonathan skewed the conference to favour the Christians. But the truth has now been revealed that Kutigi is the person who skewed the committee to undermine the Christians,” they said.
CAN said what it needs is equal representation in the confab.
“If Muslims are 12, Christians must be 12 in the religious committee. We demand that the man in Diaspora should be replaced because he doesn’t know what is going on in this country. We want a Christian from the North to be a co-chair.
“Anything short of that means that Kutigi is biased and playing an Islamic agenda against Christians in this country. We are therefore doubting his credibility to pilot the affairs of the good conference put together by the Jonathan’s administration”.
The members of the Committee on Religion as obtained from the Conference Secretariat are Nuruddeen Lemu -chairman; Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaiye, co-chairman; Shetu Alfa, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri, Hadija Dije Dattijo, Obini Ekpe, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel and Layi Erinosho.
Others are Muzzammil Hanga, Andrew Haruna, Obiora Ike, Godswill Iyoke, Munzali Jibril, Talatu Nasir, Mamman Nasir, Jonathan Obaje, Is-haq Oloyede and Amina Omoti.
Confab secretariat reacts
When contacted, the spokesperson of the conference, Akpandem James, said “Is Bishop Ajakaiye not a Christian? Somebody is a Christian and because he is not a CAN delegate he shouldn’t be co-chairman? Look, CAN is just an association and it is not every Christian that is a member. Not all churches in Nigeria are members of CAN. Must somebody come from Borno or Yobe State before heading a committee on religion?
“We had few people representing CAN and is that a group that should dictate what to do? The committee is made up of Christians and Muslims, whether you are a member of CAN or Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria. Are there no other members of NSCIA? People are just looking for trouble where there’s none,” he said.

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GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations

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Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.

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Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.

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Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers

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The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.

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